Taking Editing to New Heights: Part One
by Ocieanna Fleiss
by Ocieanna Fleiss
I’ve never been in a hot air balloon, but I’ve seen them on TV and one thing I’ve noticed—when they start out, sandbags are tied to their baskets. As they rise, the pilots unloose them one by one until they’re soaring through the clouds.
I enjoy writing first drafts. I let my fancy-free creative side run wild as I type fast and furious. Forgetting about the rules of writing, I load it down with tons of sandbags—the bulky stuff that weighs down the story. But if I want my writing to soar, sandbags must plummet. Here are a few to hoist.
That’s Gotta Go
Eject superfluous words. Sometimes I barely notice I’m using these until I read my first draft. Like so. You’d be amazed how many so’s I end up cutting. That. You rarely need it. Just is another. There is and there are—jettison those culprits. Replace them with strong verbs. Here’s an example (from real life):
Sandbagged: There is a lot of dust on top of my TV.
Rising: The dust heap atop my TV grows every day.
Basically, suddenly, as, like… When splattered all over the place, these words bog down a story’s ascent.
I want my prose to project strength and confidence. Feeble forms of speech hinder this. Drop these bags:
Sandbagged: The family of dragons walked with glee.
Rising: The dragon family skipped.
Sandbagged: I angrily touched the Coke machine.
Rising: I smacked it.
Sandbagged: Joe was tickled by an elephant.
Rising: An elephant tickled Joe.
Sandbagged: That concert was good.
Rising: That concert rocked!
Ocieanna Fleiss has cowritten two novels with Tricia Goyer—both for Summerside press. The most recent, Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington, released July, 2010. Ocieanna has also written several articles for national publications and a bi-monthy column for Northwest Christian Writers Association. Homeschool mom of four little ones, she, along with her husband, stay busy at her home in the Seattle area.
Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington released in July, 2010:
The Second World War has stolen Rosalie's fiancé from her. But rather than wallow, Rosalie throws herself into her work at the Boeing plant in Victory Heights, shooting rivets into the B-17 bombers that will destroy the enemy. A local reporter dubs her Seattle's Own Rosie the Riveter, and her story lends inspiration to women across the country. While Rosalie's strong arms can bear the weight of this new responsibility, her heart cannot handle the intense feelings that begin to surface for Kenny, the handsome reporter. Fear of a second heartbreak is a powerful opponent - but will it claim victory over love?